Thunder Cats Dalquist signs with Lakers

The Okanagan Lakers helped Josh Dalquist realize his dream of playing college hockey.

The Calgary native played 79 career Kootenay International Junior Hockey League games with the Fernie Ghostriders and Creston Valley Thunder Cats. The 21-year-old defenceman views this as an opportunity to prove himself and playing with the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League expansion club is a reset for him.

“It’s obviously a great opportunity just to get things started in a new place and be the first team of this organization,” says Dalquist, who had eight goals and 24 points in 40 games for the Thunder Cats in 2019-20.

With the Thunder Cats, Dalquist improved his patience, vision and skating. Playing in the KIJHL helped him mature as a player.

“That’s the big thing I have noticed about myself. I was too puck focused,” says Dalquist, who learned his role and where he best fit to enjoy success. “I’m a stay-at-home defenceman who will always protect the net first, but I’m capable of putting up points.”

Dalquist, who collected 30 points in 71 career regular season games, is excited about continuing his development with the Lakers and meeting his teammates.

“We’re all going through the same thing,” he says. “It’s going to be a different experience. College hockey is completely different from junior hockey. It will be a good experience and a lot of fun.”

Dalquist played his first junior hockey game with the Calgary Canucks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League in 2017-18. As a KIJHL rookie in 2018-19, Dalquist had six points in 28 games with the Fernie Ghostriders.